Meet Blaire Hapton, Toronto Store Manager
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started with GLCO Toronto, and what drew you to the brand?
Hi, I’m Blaire. I’m a queer 30-something who likes music, biking, ping pong and cats. And glasses of course. I have two cats. Bug and Nugget. They’ve been great company during these strange times. I grew up in the optical industry—both my parents are opticians who used to work side by side at their shop. I used to try on every pair at the shop and even wore plano lenses in high school. I've been working in the optical industry for 10 years now. I’m fascinated by the whole process from frame choice to lens cutting and frame adjustment. I love the tactility of frame handling and manipulation.
I met Garrett through family friends a few years ago and we instantly connected. We both grew up with parents who became our mentors in the industry. I love the authentic environment that GLCO creates. I feel like I can be myself here. The company is full of young creatives—it’s a place of collaboration and inspiration. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to manage Garrett’s first store in Canada. It’s an incredible environment—most days you’ll find me dancing around listening to records, in-between doing all things opticianry, of course.
What's it been like opening a store in the middle of a pandemic?
I wish I could say it's been all sunshine and rainbows. But, seriously, it’s been a bizarre time. Difficult in many ways. Thankfully we have a very supportive community and collective of followers. And opening during a lockdown has given us the time to perfect our process and ensure we’re providing a safe and exceptional service. The shop is a 10 minute walk from home for me. Feels amazing to work and live in the same community. Feels like everyone is my people.
How's the current situation in Canada?
Canada feels like a safe place to be under the current global situation. I’m thankful for this. But the lockdowns feel never-ending. Toronto is such a busy, exciting city, and the past year has done so much damage to the things and places that make us Toronto. I'm eagerly waiting for the return of live music and restaurant dining.
Have you introduced any new routines or rituals since the pandemic?
I’ve added a plethora of new plants into my life. This started with the onset of the pandemic. It's exciting to watch life literally happen right before your eyes. I feel such joy in watching them thrive and love when they reproduce. “Delores has a new baby” is something I’ve said frequently—yes, plants can have human names, and yes, Delores has a lot of babies. I’ve grown attune to each plant's needs and am keeping careful watch on my home plants as well as the ones at the shop. It’s about getting to know them, you know. I've even brought a few plants home from the shop to rehabilitate them.
And on another note, one of the biggest changes I've made in the past year is to cut out alcohol completely. My head is the clearest it’s ever been.
What are you wearing? Favorite frames at the moment?
I’ve been wearing Clune 45 in Olive with Photochromic green lenses pretty well exclusively for the last year. I'm a creature of comfort when it comes to my glasses. Whenever I get a new frame I get fixated on it and wear it every day until I choose something new. I’ve chosen to wear Hachi C in White Gold next—just ordered my lenses. Looking forward to a fresh summer look. My favorite frames in store at the moment are Ace Sun (love that 1960’s safety frame vibe), San Miguel, Clement Sun, and Naples.
What are you watching/reading?
I just binged the new season of Shrill with Aidy Bryant. It's so cleverly written, and genuinely funny. Other than that, Broad City and RuPaul’s Drag Race are almost always in rotation. I just started Brene Brown's Daring Greatly—my partner has been raving about it.
Drake or Bieber?
To poutine or not poutine? What are your favorite local foods?
Yes to poutine. I’ve had my fair share. I will say that my favorite poutine in the city is not really poutine at all - the squash poutine from Odd Seoul. A Korean curry, kimchi, and squash alternative. It’s worth a try if you’re in Toronto. The neighborhood is packed with great eats. Some of my favorite spots in the area are 416 Snackbar, Hanmoto, and the Telway Burger from Gold Standard.
Where do you go to escape the city?
The last several years Prince Edward County has been my home away from home. A few friends and fam have properties out there. We do a yearly camping trip out on a friend's 160 acres for my partner’s birthday. I’m an air sign so I need to be outdoors in the wilderness to maintain my sanity. Cooking over the fire with my partner (they’re a chef), and then eating that charred goodness is one of my favorite outdoor activities.
What's the first thing you're going to do when things return to normal?
See family again! And friends. And just be together and have that not be a scary and nervous activity. I also cannot wait until the day we can travel again. I have family in Paris and Tel Aviv I’d love to go see.
Come check us out in Toronto at GLCO Queen West. Open by appointment only.